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Home sweet home: Knights return to T-Mobile Arena on high note

Updated December 1, 2023 - 4:25 pm

William Karlsson couldn’t wait to get home after the Golden Knights wrapped up their road trip Thursday.

The Knights’ dominant win in Vancouver was their ninth game in nine different cities in 17 days. That stretch included a brief stop in Las Vegas for a game against Arizona on Nov. 25.

“Just can’t wait to see little Becks again,” a smiling Karlsson said of his five-month old son, Beckham. “Just to see his little smile and cuddle a little bit with him. That’s what I look forward to.”

That quality time should feel even better after the Knights found their game again. Coach Bruce Cassidy said the team’s 4-1 victory against the second-place Canucks may have been its best 60-minute performance of the season.

The Knights will look to continue that resurgence when they host the Washington Capitals at 7 p.m. Saturday at T-Mobile Arena.

“I think we were all way more connected than we have been in previous games and the legs were there a little more than they have been,” Karlsson said. “So yeah, it was clicking more and that was good to see after a tough stretch.”

The Knights (15-5-4) have scored four goals in back-to-back games. They totaled just six their previous five contests.

Most of their success against Vancouver and Edmonton came in and around the crease. That wasn’t by accident.

“We’ve made a concerted effort to get more pucks to the net,” Cassidy said. “If you’ve seen us lately, we’ve been in a scoring drought for a while and I think we were turning down opportunities to get greasy goals. We’re trying to balance that rush game, puck possession and (offensive)-zone game with getting to the net. I like where it is now a little better.”

It’s something the Knights talked about throughout their offensive skid. They’ve put it into practice the last two games and are reaping the benefits.

One thing that helped was some down time. The team played on consecutive days Monday and Tuesday against Calgary and Edmonton, respectively. The Knights then took Wednesday off before playing the Canucks on Thursday.

“We haven’t had a lot of space between games, so the rest was good,” Cassidy said. “We had good energy.”

The team also talked about refocusing during the road trip. Cassidy felt the Knights were having trouble balancing the weight of being the Stanley Cup champions while concentrating on the current campaign.

Case in point: Much of the discussion before Tuesday’s game in Edmonton centered around the second-round playoff series the two teams played in May.

“Trying to balance what we accomplished last year with just being in the moment this year, I thought we did a good job with that (Thursday) in getting back to basics,” Cassidy said. “We’re hockey players. Let’s just get back to playing hockey.”

The Knights took another day off Friday ahead of Saturday’s game, the first of two at T-Mobile Arena before they head back on the road. They also host St. Louis on Monday.

Washington (12-6-2) comes in having just beat the Kings and Ducks on back-to-back nights Wednesday and Thursday. The Capitals sit in third place in the Metropolitan Division.

Contact Adam Hill at ahill@reviewjournal.com. Follow @AdamHillLVRJ on X.

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